China's state broadcaster announces call between Xi and Biden
Chinese state-owned broadcaster on March 18 announced that China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden will be exchanging views on issues of mutual concern in an upcoming call.
Biden and Xi will speak by phone, scheduled for 9 a.m. Eastern time (1300 GMT), and Washington has already threatened lower-level Chinese government officials privately and publicly that greater support for Russia risks isolation for Beijing.
Washington sees China growing even closer to Russia after Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin last month announced a "no-limits" strategic partnership last month.
China has refused to condemn Russia's action in Ukraine or call it an invasion. Beijing said it recognizes Ukraine's sovereignty but that Russia has legitimate security concerns that should be addressed.
The call, first announced by the White House on Thursday, comes at a pivotal moment in U.S.-China relations and in Ukraine, where heavily outnumbered local forces have prevented Moscow from capturing any of the country's biggest cities so far.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki characterized the call as "an opportunity for President Biden to assess where President Xi stands."
"The fact that China has not denounced what Russia is doing, absence of denunciation by China of what Russia is doing in and of itself speaks volumes," Psaki said.
The Biden administration has issued public and private warnings that Beijing would face dire consequences if it provides material support to Russian President Vladimir Putin's war.